Abuse of Elderly Assisted Living Facility Resident Caught on Tape

Three former employees of an assisted living facility have been charged criminally with abusing a 78-year-old resident who suffers from dementia. On Friday, the Department of Public Welfare revoked the facility’s license, citing “gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct.”

The victim’s daughter and her husband said they moved her mother to the facility in January 2009 based on the facility’s reputation and the proximity to their home.  Within a month of moving in, the elderly woman began showing signs of advancing dementia and was soon moved into the dementia unit. It was around that time that the resident began complaining that someone was hurting her, her daughter said.

Concerned, the woman's daughter told the administrator about her mother’s claims. The facility’s administrators said they would investigate. On March 14, the couple was told the allegations were unfounded and were attributed to the victim’s dementia. Five days later, the woman's family noticed bruising on the victim’s left hand and wrist. They did not report that to the administration, but took photographs of the injuries instead, according to documents filed in the criminal case.

The woman's son-in-law then installed a surveillance camera disguised as a clock in the victim’s room. The camera allegedly captured footage of three employees taunting, mocking and assaulting the patient while she was in a state of undress. As the resident tried to put a long-sleeve shirt over her head, one employee is seen grabbing the shirt and putting her left hand under the shirt near the victim’s face. The same employee is also seen striking the victim in the face and head and shoving her down on the bed, according to the criminal complaint.

The family took the tape to the police, who have charged the three employees with aggravated assault, simple assault, criminal conspiracy, harassment, neglect of a care-dependent person and reckless endangerment. The facility has been barred from accepting new residents because they failed to report the suspected abuse to the Department of Public Welfare or any local agency as required by law. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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